Being a boy once - my father took me to a park,
It is years ago now,
So, I don't even remember how much is true,
Or which part is just fond wishing of a memory I want.
It was a weekday afternoon, and must have been summer.
Tunnels of ancient live oaks resist the sun at the playground.
I tried the cracked wooden planks of swings,
Red flakes of paint, sharp on the dry white wood,
Creaking roundabouts and shiny dented tongues of slides,
Claimed my limbs.
He would join my games,
This father person who I knew only a little,
Perhaps mainly by obligation.
But he would only try things briefly,
Initially joyful, his face would always fade,
Like water emptying from a hole in his heart.
I see him now, sitting large on a child's bench,
Looking off into distance. Quiet.
It's so long ago now,
It took me all this time to realize...
That he was with me because he had no work.
His time with his son,
For him, it was confirmation of his responsibilities,
And that he was not meeting them.
With my chubby hands I remember holding his palms,
Trying to cheer him,
Not knowing of the adult ways to come,
Thinking that if we laughed more, or I tried harder,
Maybe he would be happy too.
It is only now that I really feel his pain.
It comes from understanding.
A little piece of my parent's struggle becomes clearer to me,
As I try to hang on.
July 2010 and June 2011